Community Science

With technology at your fingertips, being part of your community through science has never been easier or more accessible.


You can make a difference locally or around the world through simple actions. Use your smart device to record data, find new places to explore, or learn new eco-friendly practices through the resources and apps listed below. These staff favorites are just a few examples of what is available for getting involved in scientific studies.




Contribute to science by recording your observations in projects that crowd source data collection.


Record the Rain

When rain falls in Morro Bay, we want to know. 

Help the Estuary Program track how much rain falls on the land the drains to the bay. Keeping a record of local rainfall helps us understand what we can expect to see happening in the bay. Pick up your rain gauge from our office, place it near your home, and begin recording on our easy-to-use digital form. You can see the results from your station and averages for different areas in the watershed throughout the year. This data helps inform us about what we can expect to see happening in creeks and in the bay.



Hydrology is the study of water on Earth. 

You can find CrowdHydrology stations in creeks and rivers all over the country. With partial funding from the Estuary Program, Central Coast Salmon Enhancement installed the first two CrowdHydrology stations in California and they are in our watershed! Check out the local stations on the project map. Visit these stations to read the in-stream gauge, text in your creek-level observations, and your data will help local scientists track creek levels in our area.



Find the naturalist in you. 


Contribute observations of plants and animals to this biodiversity database, build your own knowledge by identifying species contributed by others, learn more about the types of plants and animals found in your area, or connect with experts who can help you identify unfamiliar organisms in the app. From rare plants to common backyard birds, you can share your findings for science. Resource managers and ecologists can download data from the app to help them track when and where certain species can be found. Tag your local observations with our Morro Bay Estuary & Watershed Biodiversity Project to document your findings in the area.

Keep our coastline clean and report your results

These two trash-tracking apps combine community service with science.

Morro Bay Trash Tracker

Help us track the trash that is out of place in our watershed.

We know that it’s always best to pack out what you pack in when hiking, pick up after your picnic at the beach or  park, scoop the poop behind your dogs and cats, and do your part in keeping our seas trash free. However, trash still ends up in places where it shouldn’t be. You can help your community and local wildlife by cleaning up and filling out the digital data sheet on our Morro Bay Trash Tracker page. With your help, we can which items are left behind most often and where they’re found. With this knowledge, we can find ways to address items and locations of concern and help people create bay-friendly trash habits in the future. So, whether you’re participating in an organized cleanup or just taking an extra bag with you on a beachfront walk with a friend, please fill out the trash tracker form. It comes right to the Estuary Program and all data helps!


Clean Swell

A day on the beach? Don’t forget your trash bags!

This simple app created by the Ocean Conservancy, allows you to keep track of all your shoreline cleanup efforts anywhere in the world. Whether it’s a #2minutebeachclean or a big group cleanup, you can record what you picked up and even add some photos before tossing the trash in the can. When you submit your findings on the app, it adds to a growing database managed by the Ocean Conservancy that can inform scientists, local agencies, and the community about what trash is problematic and ending up on our shores. By using the app every time, you can be proud of your collection history that shows your awesome impact on the health of our coast and ocean.


Community Science Project Finder from SciStarter

Find more science projects that you can participate in at home.

It’s easy to discover a science project you’re passionate about with CitSci’s project finder. Check out the featured community science project on the left of the widget or use the finder on the right to search for a project that involves a specific activity or focuses on your favorite science topic.




Go digital to stay informed and involved in protecting our estuary. 


Explore the Coast (coming soon!)

You love California? We do, too.

This web app guides you to some beautiful spots along the California coast, including twelve around Morro Bay. It features videos, photos, information, maps, visiting tips, hiking ideas, family activities, and more. It will help you get outside, explore new things, and see how you can help keep the California coast clean and healthy. You can use it to plan your trip or follow along as you travel. Find Morro Bay and Los Osos to see the Estuary Program’s contributions to this California State Coastal Conservancy app.


Seafood Watch

Let’s make eating seafood easier and greener.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium created this app to help you find sustainable producers and their products. You can get free, up-to-date seafood recommendations or search for species you are curious about to make sure that the food on your plate got there in an ocean-friendly way. This guide gives the names of nearby restaurants and stores that offer sustainable options and lets you access conservation studies and reports.


All Trails

Pick your peak.

Hikes from all over the world upload photos, maps, stories, recommendations,  tips, and details about hikes all to this site, helping you find your ideal outdoor adventure. Whether it’s a short walk, beachfront stroll, or hours of hiking in tough terrain, the app can help you find what is right for you. Contribute info to the app or just use it to find your path. Respect trail signs and leave no trace while hiking to protect wildlife and reduce erosion, and don’t forget to enjoy the fresh air, awesome wildlife, and beauty of all the new places you’ll see!



Track your eco-footprint on the world.


Find different actions and decisions you can make in your everyday life to help our planet and preserve local natural areas. By paying attention to your actions and keeping track of your footprint with their calculator, you get personalized tips to better your everyday actions and even earn rewards. This interactive guide and calculator also allows you to share, collaborate, and compete with your neighbors and friends. Discover ways to reduce your carbon impact on the world and move your lifestyle towards sustainability. OroEco offers this fun video to explain their vision.